FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 15, 2010
Contact: Kristina Johnson (415) 977-5619
Washington, D.C. - Tomorrow, the White House will kick off a new initiative aimed at changing the way America's public lands are managed. Sierra Club is calling on the Obama administration to use the initiative as an opportunity to address two key challenges: Introducing more children, especially children of color, to America's public lands, and addressing the growing threat of global warming to wildlife and wild places.
Following the event on Friday, the administration is expected to launch a series of public "listening sessions" around the nation that will allow Americans to weigh in on how federal agencies manage our national forests, rivers, and parks.
Statement of Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune:
We applaud President Obama, Secretary Salazar, Secretary Vilsack, and Chair Sutley for launching the Great Outdoors initiative. This initiative offers an unprecedented opportunity to change the way we manage our public lands. Protecting our wild legacy in the face of climate change, and engaging the next generation of conservationists should be central to this effort.
Global warming poses a threat to wildlife and habitat unlike anything we've seen before. If we hope to pass on a wild legacy to future generations, we need to address the challenge of climate change head-on. We need to create connectivity between landscapes that will allow animals like grizzly bears and panthers to migrate and adapt. We can increase the odds that wildlife will survive global warming by reducing other hurdles, like irresponsible oil and gas development. Protecting forests and wetlands also helps clean the air, store carbon, and fight global warming.
As we work to protect our wild legacy, we also need to ensure that we cultivate the next generation of conservationists who will act as good stewards of our outdoor heritage. Our public lands provide an opportunity to build health and happiness among our children. Studies show that when children spend time outdoors, they benefit both physically and academically. Introducing youth and underserved communities to America's Great Outdoors should be a top priority for this administration.
Solutions the Sierra Club has proposed as part of the Great Outdoors Initiative include: